Former Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Dowdall has claimed that Gerry “The Monk” Hutch told him that he and an alleged Dublin criminal shot David Byrne dead at the Regency hotel.
Giving evidence at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, Mr Dowdall said Hutch told him he was involved in the Regency shooting and that he “wasn’t happy” Mr Byrne was killed.
Mr Dowdall said he was asked to meet Hutch in a park in Dublin days after the attack.
Hutch is on trial over the murder of Mr Byrne, who was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in February, 2016, in one of the first deadly attacks of the Hutch-Kinahan gangland feud.
Hutch, from the Paddocks, Clontarf, has denied the charge of murder.
Hutch, who was wearing a black blazer, white shirt and light trousers, watched Mr Dowdall as he entered the court and gave evidence.
Mr Dowdall position himself to directly face the three judges and addressed them as he gave his evidence. He spoke quietly when first confirming his name.
Mr Dowdall began his evidence against Hutch by outlining his connections to the Hutch family since he was a teenager.
He said that he and his father, Patrick had been travelling back from Strabane in Co Tyrone in February 2016 when Patsy Hutch rang his dad and asked him to book a hotel room at the Regency.
He told the court that there was nothing unusual about this as they often booked hotel rooms, holidays and flights for Patsy.
Mr Dowdall said on the eve of the Regency shooting, his father collected a key card to a room that was used by one of the gunmen. He told the court the key card was handed to Hutch that evening when they met in Dublin.
Mr Dowdall said he first learned of the Regency attack on the radio and had also been contacted by his wife about it.
On the Monday after the attack, Hutch asked to meet him at a park in Whitehall, Dublin in the morning.
“I arrived and Gerard Hutch was there and he was on his own. He asked if I spoke to Patsy (his brother) and I said no,” Mr Dowdall said.
He claimed that Mr Hutch asked about a photograph of two people – a man and a man dressed as a woman – running from the Regency Hotel that appeared in the Sunday World.
Mr Dowdall said he was asked to contact dissident republicans in Northern Ireland to help resolve the feud with the Kinahans, but he told him it would be a “waste of time”.
Sean Gillane, senior counsel for the prosecution, asked if Hutch said he shot Mr Byrne.
“He said it was him and ‘Mago’ Gately who were at the hotel and had shot David Byrne. He was upset saying how he was not happy about shooting that young lad David Byrne dead,” Mr Dowdall told the court.
Mr Dowdall also said that Hutch was “very agitated” when he met him at the park.
“He was not himself and he seemed to genuinely know that shit was hitting the fan,” Mr Dowdall told the court.
“It was upset over killing that lad, David. He was paranoid of people watching him in the park. He asked to walk and then would stop.
“He said there was going to a be lot of innocent people killed, family and friends. People were knocking on family members’ doors and he needed to get someone to try and sort out everything out.
“I was asked to speak to someone and step in. I told him it was a waste of time.
“I just wanted out of the park.”
Mr Dowdall began giving evidence at 11.30am on Monday and was questioned by Mr Gillane for a number of hours.
He was surrounded by gardai throughout his evidence.
Mr Dowdall told Mr Gillane that he grew up in Dublin’s north inner city and had known the Hutch family through his brother.
He said his mother was a friend of Gerry Hutch’s wife and that he had formed a friendship with Hutch’s brother, Patsy.
Dowdall is serving a four-year prison sentence for facilitating the murder of Mr Byrne.
The former councillor and his father Patrick, with the same address in Navan Road, Dublin, admitted assisting a criminal gang to commit the murder.
Patrick Dowdall was jailed for two years for his role in the killing.
On Monday, Mr Dowdall told the court he was worried over the booking of the hotel room, saying he wish he hadn’t been told details about the Regency murder.
He said being told the information was like “being told where the money is buried”.
He later told the court that he and Hutch travelled to Northern Ireland on March 7, where they met a number of people.
He said it was an attempt to arrange a meeting with the Kinahans to stop the feud.
He also said the Mr Hutch was “concerned” about a driver who drove him home after the Regency shooting.
He said that Hutch was particularly concerned about being caught on the neighbour’s CCTV.
Mr Dowdall also told the court that in 2015 he was told that Patrick Hutch junior had been accused of trying to kill Daniel Kinahan.
He said that the Kinahans had demanded 200,000 euro from the Hutch family and that was in relation to compensation for a boxer who had been shot during the shooting incident in Spain.
He also told the court that Gary Hutch had been held hostage and that Patrick had to hand himself over for a punishment shooting.
He said that Patrick went and “got shot” and then was taken to the Mater hospital by family members.
Earlier, a detective superintendent who is attached to the Garda National Surveillance Unit and cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence concerning Mr Dowdall’s assessment to enter the Witness Security Programme.
She told the court that the assessment was independent and separate from his evidence.
Two other men are also on trial on charges related to the murder.
Paul Murphy, 59, of Cabra Road, Swords, and Jason Bonney, 50, of Drumnigh Wood in Portmarnock, also pleaded not guilty.
They are charged with providing a motor vehicle to a criminal organisation with knowledge or having been reckless to whether those actions could facilitate a serious offence by the organisation.
The charges relate to two vehicles.
The trial continues.